What the AA/ Visit England deal might mean

By | Category: Travel news

Is the Visit England /AA deal reducing choice for visitors?

Two days ago, Visit England announced that the AA has been awarded a contract to run the Visit England Quality Assessment Schemes for the next three years.

This doesn’t mean that the AA is abandoning its own scheme. The two will both continue and co-exist but is this to the benefit of the visitor?

Visit England says that “participants will continue to be able to choose between the Visit England and AA accommodation schemes. All current ratings, logos, marques and accolades remain unchanged and there will be no discernible change for participants.”

Yet it sounds as though inspectors from the AA will be examining accommodation and grading it under the two systems, possibly on the same visit. Is it not likely that the hotel concerned will have the same rating under both schemes? If that be the case, why bother to have two schemes? Will be there be a difference between the two?

Will accommodations pay for two systems when many might see them, in the future, as the same?

It seems to me that an element of visitor choice will have been removed unless the inspection views things differently. And. even if the inspector does, once the visitor knows that the same organisation is monitoring both, will the visitor question whether the ratings are different at all.

The AA may find tis advantageous in rating both systems as, not only will it be paid, but savings will accrue if it can combine visits. Has Visit England has shot itself in the foot by ceding inspect ion rights to a rival? How long will it be before the two systems become one?

Now may be the time for a more independently minded company to create a rival monitoring system so that visitors can assess the two and decide which is the more accurate or all-embracing system.

On the other hand, could this deal between the two organisations spell the death knell for traditional grading systems? Do we need them in an age when a TripAdvisor, Feefo or other online review system provides a score from those who have stayed rather than those who have just inspected?

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